* OK, this is one strange press release…
Karen Lewis: Time to replace 26th District “Rauner” Democrat
CTU president to join congressman, local electeds, grassroots activists in call for ouster of 26th District incumbent in favor of challenger Jay Travis.
CHICAGO, February 8, 2016: With Illinois’ Republican governor ratcheting up his attacks on teachers, public workers, retirees and the state’s most vulnerable, a growing chorus of local voices are calling on voters to reject “Rauner” Democrats who represent Chicago neighborhoods in Springfield — including the 26th District incumbent.
CTU President Karen Lewis will join U.S. Congressman Danny Davis, 10th Ward Alderman Sue Garza, 42nd Ward Alderman Brenden Reilly, and parents, community organizers and local residents of the 26th District TODAY at 12:30 PM, Monday, February 8 at the 42nd Ward’s iconic Billy Goat Tavern, located on the lower level of Michigan and Hubbard at 430 N. Michigan, to lay out their reasons for opposing incumbent Christian Mitchell. The incumbent has been branded a “Rauner” Democrat for sharing elite donors and a political agenda with the Republican governor that they say hurts retirees, schoolchildren, parents, educators and working families.
The 26th District includes some of the city’s most affluent and most economically challenged neighborhoods — from the northern tip of South Chicago all the way north to Streeterville and the Gold Coast.
Travis’ endorsers’ include four aldermen whose wards are included in the district: 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, 5th Ward Alderwoman Leslie Hairston, 10th Ward Alderwoman Sue Garza and 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly. Along with Congressman Davis, Travis has also been endorsed by Citizen Action/Illinois; United Working Families; the Network for Public Education Action; ATU Local 308, the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents CTA rail workers; the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 80,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in the state; BATs — The Badass Teachers Association (BATs), a national education activist organization with over 50,000 members; PUA — People United for Action; and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Travis has worked as a community organizer and non-profit professional for over 20 years, most recently as national coordinator of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, a national community labor alliance that works for equitable public education. Before that, she worked as a program officer for the Wood Foundation, and before that for 12 years as the executive director of KOCO — the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization. She currently work as a consultant for groups that include the Midwest Academy, with a focus on coaching and training organizers and grassroots activists.
She’s running against a two-term incumbent who’s taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from school privatization groups, anti-labor groups and hedge fund billionaires, supporting a series of anti-labor, pro-privatization bills Travis’ supporters say undermine workers’ rights, neighborhood public schools and the long-term economic health of working families.
* So, the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Chicago Federation of Labor, SEIU, AFSCME Council 31 and a ton of other unions have been somehow duped into endorsing “Rauner Democrat” Christian Mitchell?
Karen Lewis lives in Mitchell’s district. She’s been trying to install her own candidate there for years. Hey, that’s her right. But most of the rest of organized labor has clearly moved on. Lewis won’t, which may be why the aldercreatures have folded.
* But maybe the CTU ought to address this little bit of oppo instead. Yikes.
*** UPDATE *** Timely…
State Rep. Christian Mitchell announced this week that his bid for reelection has been endorsed by the Illinois Education Association, a statewide teachers union, comprised of over 130,000 elementary and secondary education teachers, professors, educational support professionals and retired teachers from across Illinois.
“We are proud to endorse Christian Mitchell for reelection to the Illinois House of Representatives,” said Cinda Klickna, President of the Illinois Education Association. “Christian has stood up against Governor Rauner’s attempts to destroy unions and has fought to protect our ability to collectively bargain. He supports more funding for our schools. Christian is the right choice for our students and our teachers.”
“I’m grateful for their support, and I look forward to continuing our work together in Springfield, particularly our fight against Governor Rauner’s attacks on organized labor,” said Mitchell.